29 Jun How We Empower People Through Personal Hygiene
Soap. Toothpaste. Shampoo. Deodorant. Dental floss.
Most of us could never imagine going without these personal hygiene products, even for a day.
But these items are actually beyond the reach of many people in very low-income communities. For these families, it can boil down to a tough choice: paying for food or buying a bottle of shampoo or a bar of soap.
According to a Feeding America survey, 58% of low-income families reported cutting back on food to pay for hygiene products in the past year. Of those, nearly a quarter need to make this choice every month.
Maintaining good hygiene is the most cost-effective measure against disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, researchers estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths a year could be prevented.
Given the importance of personal hygiene, you might be surprised to learn that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) cannot be used to pay for toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, feminine products, or diapers.
As with food insecurity, hygiene insecurity is more prevalent than most people realize. When you’re struggling to make ends meet, buying toiletries for an entire family can get expensive. Or when you’ve lost everything in a house fire or a flood, just getting the basic necessities to stay clean can be a big challenge.
At Good360, we have worked with many nonprofit organizations to distribute personal hygiene products, often bundled together in a kit to assist specific communities such as disaster survivors, the homeless, or women seeking shelter from domestic violence. Here are just a few of our initiatives:
- We partnered with Nice-Pak and PDI to distribute $1 million worth of wet wipes to aid hurricane survivors
- We were one of several organizations to benefit from Colgate-Palmolive’s donation of $20 million in health and hygiene products. Thanks to Good360’s network of nonprofit partners, more than 400,000 products, including soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, and other personal care items, were distributed to local communities.
- Good360 partnered with Women’s HQ, which serves women of color who have experienced domestic abuse, to put together and distribute thousands of “survivor comfort kits” filled with personal hygiene products, cosmetics, socks, cozy blankets and other selfcare items
- We partnered with Mitzvah Circle Foundation and Sunstar’s GUM Oral Care brand to donate care bags containing toothbrushes and dental floss to more than 45,000 low-income individuals during the pandemic
- We teamed up with ESN Group to distribute more than $100,000 worth of shampoo, conditioner and other personal care products to support recovery efforts in Southern Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma
If you are able to donate products toward our personal hygiene kits, we are most in need of the following items:
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Deodorant, body wash and bars of soap
- Dental floss and mouth wash
- Hand sanitizer
- Diapers and wet wipes
- Feminine hygiene products
- Razors and shaving cream
No one should ever need to worry about how they look or smell because they can’t afford something as basic as a bar of soap. When we provide personal hygiene products to people in need, we’re allowing them to feel dignified, clean, and healthy.
For school-age children, it can mean the difference between wanting to go to school or skipping class because you’re worried about your appearance. For an adult, personal hygiene can determine how confident you feel in a job interview, for example. Everyone deserves to feel clean and at their personal best.